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‘Nobody loves this place as much as I do’: Jan Jensen rewarded for loyalty to Hawkeyes

‘Nobody loves this place as much as I do’: Jan Jensen rewarded for loyalty to Hawkeyes

Outside candidates would have lined up outside Carver-Hawkeye Arena for the chance to coach Iowa women’s basketball. But Athletic Director Beth Goetz requested a waiver from the NCAA to bypass the interview process. Because the easiest option was the only option.

Jan Jensen, Iowa’s longtime Associate Head Coach was named the fifth head coach in the program’s history.

“Under Jan’s leadership, you will continue to see a team that plays with heart, with unmatched toughness, and plays an exciting brand of basketball,” Beth Goetz said. “We have a coach who welcomes high expectations, has an energy that inspires all those around her, and a contagious enthusiasm that will continue to flame the passion of her team and our fans across the state and beyond.”

“You’ve been all in here with us, and we are all in with you. How amazing is it when the easy choice is the right choice, and in Caitlin Clark’s words, the only choice.”

“There’s a lot of people that could take this job,” the newly named head coach said. “I know there’s a lot of people that could take this job, but I promise you, nobody loves this place as much as I do.”

Lisa Bluder’s retirement was a shock to everyone — even the one working closest to her.

“You can be really, really happy, and I was so happy and fired up for the possibility, especially when Beth called me up and said, hey, do you want to visit, and I said how fast, yes, can I get there,” Jensen said. “But at the same time, you can also — almost a mourning of what was because it’s like anything in life. It’s a beautiful chapter closed. Whatever those milestone moments, you graduate from high school, you graduate from college, your first job and then you get that next promotion.”

Over the course of 33 years, Jensen passed up on head coaching opportunities to remain by Lisa Bluder’s side at Iowa.

“There’s been double-digit opportunities,” Jensen revealed. “Everybody is strategic. You get to a certain point in the interview process. Kind of like recruiting, if you feel like they’re not in, then you shift. I’d say there was two, maybe three where I was like, ooh, kind of like maybe that’s the one, maybe I should go.”

“Let me tell you what, if you get to pay your dues on this type of a ride, it’s not a bad deal. But I’d like to look at it as more of a reward for loyalty.”

Jensen’s loyalty paid off, and she’ll get the chance to serve the Hawkeyes in a different role — her dream job.

“We’ve got a great start with our fans, our super fans, people who are supporting the NIL, open-minded, because the game is going to change, and it’s going to change a lot, athletics overall. So I’m really proud of getting to be a part of it. I’m just excited about the changes this year and going through a reset, and now we say we’re going to do it the old-fashioned way. Now we don’t have someone that shoots from the parking lot. They actually shoot from the three-point line. We’re going to go figure that out all over again.”

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